New Zealand post highest-ever points total in Cardiff as seven tries from out-half Beauden Barrett (two), scrum-half TJ Perenara, wing Will Jordan, flanker Dalton Papalii, replacement wing Sevu Reece and centre Anton Lienert-Brown earn a 54-16 win – eclipsing the 43 points scored in 2002.
By Michael Cantillon at Principality Stadium
Last Updated: 30/10/21 11:37pm
New Zealand began their autumn tour in convincing fashion as they cruised past a depleted Wales side to win 54-16 at a fervent Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The All Blacks scored tries through out-half Beauden Barrett (two) – on the occasion of his 100th cap – scrum-half TJ Perenara, wing Will Jordan, flanker Dalton Papalii, replacement wing Sevu Reece and centre Anton Lienert-Brown.
Full-back Jordie Barrett added three penalties and five conversions in the slick and professional victory, while Wales mustered three penalties and a Johnny Williams try.
The 54 points registered is the highest ever by a New Zealand team in Cardiff, eclipsing the previous best of 43 posted in 2002.
Wales, already shorn of a raft of frontline players through injury – and ineligibility for this particular Test – suffered further blows too as skipper Alun Wyn Jones re-injured his left shoulder, and back-row Ross Moriarty departed with an arm injury.
After repelling New Zealand’s first foray into their half, Wales’ very next attack saw disaster strike, as Beauden Barrett picked off the pass of his former New Zealand U20s team-mate and Wales out-half Gareth Anscombe to sprint in untouched in just the fourth minute.
The hosts responded well as impressive flanker Taine Basham – making his first Test start – secured a breakdown penalty directly in front of the posts from the restart, which Anscombe duly knocked over to register Wales on the scoreboard.
The next major flashpoint saw Wales No 8 Aaron Wainwright counter-attack magnificently from his own 22, before Beauden Barrett was extremely fortunate to avoid a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on during the move as wing Owen Lane attempted to find centre Williams on the inside – referee Mathieu Raynal decreeing a penalty sufficient.
The Test continued at a swift tempo, with the All Blacks next to notch a score as Jordie Barrett converted a penalty from close range on 18 minutes after Wainwright had been caught on the wrong side.
In the 19th minute, Wales suffered a hammer blow as captain Jones departed with a shoulder injury – the same complaint he suffered before the summer’s British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa – while making a tackle.
Jordie Barrett then took the All Blacks’ lead out to two scores in the 26th minute by tapping over a penalty for offside – having missed one from halfway moments before, and after tighthead Nepo Laulala knocked-on in the act of trying to score a yard from the Wales try-line.
Six minutes from the break, New Zealand did have their second try though – and with it a commanding 18-3 lead – as scrum-half Perenara went over after a superb burst and offload from No 8 Ardie Savea.
Into the final couple of minutes of the half, Wales kicked to the corner when badly in need of a score after an All Blacks breakdown transgression, but hooker Ryan Elias critically overthrew.
All Blacks tighthead Laulala was soon sin-binned following a TMO review for making contact with the head of back-row Moriarty – a situation from which the Welshman would not return.
A third lineout malfunction in succession ensured Wales would end the opening 40 minutes without a try and a high degree of frustration – though they did add a further Anscombe penalty in dead time after a Brodie Retallick tackle off the ball.
Despite the All Blacks beginning the second period with a man less, it was the visitors who would trouble the scoreboard next as Jordie Barrett bisected the uprights from 40 metres or so with a clean strike.
Laulala returned from his sin-binning with no further damage done, but once 15 vs 15 was restored, Wales pressed increasingly hard to land a blow of their own through phase play, but just came up short.
Replacement Priestland did knock over the home side’s third penalty of the day to reduce the All Blacks’ lead somewhat, but it remained a long way back.
Within minutes, the Test was away from Wales as twice scrum-half Williams kicked too long, and on the second occasion, All Blacks wing Jordan took ruthless advantage, slicing through before chipping ahead, regathering and diving over.
Jordie Barrett converted the score to leave things a daunting 28-9 to New Zealand, but Wales did finally score a try in response: centre Williams latching on to a clever Priestland kick ahead on penalty advantage just past the hour.
It was to matter little, though, as a soft and avoidable penalty from the restart for chasing ahead of the kick by Wales handed New Zealand a huge opening straight away, from which flanker Papalii crashed over.
Just two minutes later, All Blacks replacement Reece sauntered over for their fifth try as New Zealand offloaded at high speed and accuracy down the left.
And there remained time for two more New Zealand tries, as slick handling brutally picked off a tiring Wales for Lienert-Brown to score, before Beauden Barrett had the final say with an intercept and sprint down the right touchline.